Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

"Who is this man, and why does he say those things?" Robert Earl Burton Quotations

Robert Earl Burton, Fellowship of Friends cult leader and dandy, praying
Robert Earl Burton, "an angel trapped in a man's body"
From the Fellowship of Friends Wikispace page:
Robert Burton quotations from "Thoughts from the Teacher" (Fellowship publication)
Jan 12, 2003:

I feel our good fortune quite deeply this morning. We are at the dawn of another year of working with the Gods. We have been chosen out of six billion people to consciously evolve.

Jan 26, 2003:

It is a long wait with Influence C. I am into my best period as a teacher. When I turned sixty, my higher centers matured in a certain way. I can now see what is in front of me. I can see the obvious in everything. For example, if I read a thought by Peter Ouspensky, I can see whether it is right, and appreciate it, or whether it is not, and correct it.

Jan 26, 2003:

I do not think; I am present. Therefore I am—a conscious being.

Jan 26, 2003:

[To a student traveling with Robert for the first time] You will start to alter your essence. You will eat things that you did not grow up eating. Everybody does it: the Japanese learn to eat Italian food; the Chinese learn to eat French food. You will also gain more experience with wine. You own a vineyard now, so you want to educate your essence in wine and move towards a Mediterranean aesthetic.

Jan 26, 2003:

On my level, I see sleep wherever I go. I cannot see it otherwise. I would have to be asleep to see it as awake.

Jan 26, 2003:

Student: I try to understand how you think.

Robert: I do not think—that is my virtue. I just see. I have immortal vision. All these people have mortal vision.

Feb 02, 2003:

One reason there are not more schools is that there are not more teachers who care about their students—and there is nothing I care for more than my students.

Feb 02, 2003:

I turned down the air-conditioning one degree—but I did it with presence. It is so important to do your work in private. One by one my students will join me in Paradise.

Feb 02, 2003:

I find it unique that I am the first man in history who asked for “Presence Please” from his students.

Feb 02, 2003:

Only I can love all of my students. What parent does not love all of his children?

Feb 09, 2003:

We will be celebrating the miracle of the almond blossom around February 6th or 12th of each year. We will also be celebrating the Chinese New Year, as well as each conscious being’s birthday. We will invent dates for those we do not know, to fill the sparse months.

Feb 09, 2003:

I see these things as the Gods see them. (…) Increasingly, I tend to look at the success of Apollo and of your evolution in terms of how long I shall live. The longer, the better.

April 6, 2003:

It is within my power to make my students immortal, and it cannot be achieved in any way other than that which the Gods dictate. Immortality is yours—you just have to accept their methods. You cannot expect to have a normal life with Gods in your life, because it is already abnormal to have Gods in one’s life.

April 6, 2003:

I was looking into a fireplace the first time my higher centers appeared. They were aware of themselves, and aware of the fireplace, and it lasted about twenty minutes. That was my first experience with myself. (…) There were two reasons why the Gods had me look into a fireplace. First, the eternal flame of cosmic consciousness had been established by the Gods. Secondly, I was looking into the inferno of hydrogen warfare.

April 6, 2003:

I crystallized in what was then the Blake Cottage. My last ‘I’ before going to bed was, “It is not going to happen tonight,” but I was wrong. I awakened between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. and it hit. I was facing Mount Apollo with my back turned to California, and my higher centers fused. There was thunder and lightning, and when it cleared my world six was looking straight ahead, completely unfazed by the event. In a school, what one gains, we all gain, and my story is your story. Self-remembering is the greatest gift that one can ever receive, and one must give it to oneself.

April 6, 2003:

Having founded Apollo and a civilization, I will appreciate the perfected nature of Paradise more than any other conscious being. Augustus said that he found Rome brick and left it marble. I found Apollo dust, and I will be fortunate to leave it brick.

April 13, 2003:

One thing I have been wondering about is how much time elapses between lifetimes for ascending souls. The only thought I have encountered on this subject is from Plato, who said that the soul takes a new body about every ten thousand years. I do not know if this is true, but I am certain that the period between lifetimes is not uniform. One of the first things I want to know when I complete my role is when I will be reunited with you.

Aug 17, 2003:

Student: Why is it that the soul takes only one female body during the course of its nine lives?

Robert: To strengthen and soften the higher emotional center.

Nov 2, 2003:

Should I live to become old, I will not take any pride in my age, but I shall feel grateful for having been given the opportunity to serve my fellow ascending souls.

Nov 2, 2003:

It is such an incredible experience to circulate in life; with immortal vision I observe mortal sleep. In my students, however, I see the Promised Land.

Nov 2, 2003:

Curiously, we are the only people on the Earth attempting to stay out of imagination.

Nov 23, 2003:

I cannot think of anything more important that I will do with my eternal life than helping my students escape. Although I have all eternity before me, the work I am doing now is the most important I will ever do.

Jan 25, 2004:

I find it curious that joggers are uninterested in developing their souls.

February 8, 2004:

I try to avoid Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and Collin’s interpretations of the Bible. They did not understand it and I do not want to be influenced by them. I am more simple than they are, and I must protect that simplicity.

February 8, 2004:

More than ever, I know that I am going to reach the conscious child within my students, from the conscious child within myself.

June 6, 2004:

Life has a very distorted imaginary picture of conscious beings. In Alex Horn’s group, I was the only student who agreed to take out the refuse and sweep the floors. People do not think of Buddha as doing those kind of things, when, in fact, it is exactly what made him conscious.

June 13, 2004:

We have a new religion: self-remembering and working with the forty-four Gods. It is the highest religion ever given to man.

June 13, 2004:

As your teacher, I can see Influence C’s plans. I can see the part in you that counts.

June 13, 2004:

I do not have to ask my students to love me more. I never knew such love in my life.

June 20, 2004:

On my level, during the teaching events I see students being twice born right before my eyes. It is the most beautiful sight for the Gods.

October 3, 2004:

I do not think that the Sufis had a school. Schools undergo very brutal shocks, and the Sufis have a certain cuteness in their works that suggests they were not in this position.

October 10, 2004:

The Fellowship of Friends is the birth of conscious democracy for man.

February 6, 2005:

The crocodile was intentionally created by higher forces to embody the attributes of the king of clubs. It is a grotesque creature, exactly the opposite of essence and higher centers. (…) All crocodiles are alike, and all think they are different. It is astonishing to cohabit with such a creature.

February 6, 2005:

Zen is attractive to people because it has an instinctive element, and so makes it easier for the instinctive center to manipulate consciousness.

August 7, 2005:

It is incredible to see that Gurdjieff and Ouspensky missed, while we have gotten it right.

Robert Burton's 1980's thoughts on Armageddon, the Fellowship of Friends as an Ark and the end of the world
Humanity as an organism does not have an immunity to a synthetic poison such as the neutron bomb.

Taking influence C for granted is an unpardonable offence.

The school will make elaborate plans to retrieve objects of art for posterity after Armageddon occurs during September, 2006. The gods work openly with us, and this is the theory they have transmitted to me.

This type of suffering may be intended to prepare one for the trial of being huddled together within a fall-out shelter after Armageddon.

Higher forces give us inconceivable shocks to prepare us for the unimaginable experience of surviving Armageddon.

From one angle, Armageddon, the supreme battle at the end of the world, is only being postponed until we are prepared.

The school is larger than the Teacher. What a huge task we have – to think that Armageddon is going to occur. So many wonderful men and women have laboured for humanity.

All the cities of the world are on the same time now: they all have twenty four years left before Armageddon occurs in 2006.

The United Sates is a brilliant nation, but it will never grow old as a nation. It will die a young death, like Mozart.

This year (1983) signifies the beginning of the depression and the chain of events that will eventually lead to Armageddon. First in this chain will be the depression, which will require a war in the Middle East to lift us from it; then will come the fall of California, and finally, 2006. The Last Judgment (Armageddon). I have, to an extent, laid my role as a prophet on the line by predicting these events in the years 1984, 1997, 1998 and 2006.

Armageddon will be the biggest tragedy humanity has ever experienced.

We are a people who shall endure the Last Judgment; imagine it is only twenty-three years away.

Armageddon will occur in a flash, and in a flash our new civilization shall rise.

The most dire events in history are brewing and will take place in the next twenty three years. Humanity will be destroyed by a volley of devastating events.

We are all that is real in the world when we are present, and we shall be the only reality after Armageddon.

The phrase, Last judgment means that humanity has been judged unfit to continue.

Russia and the United States are on a collision course that is not to be averted.

All of the world’s great cities are on the same time now; all will perish one way or another in 2006.

We are people destined to survive the Last Judgment, and so we cannot be naïve.

To identify with the tragedy of life reduces our chances as well as posterity’s.

Student: After Armageddon will Jesus’s life still play a prominent role in our lives?

Teacher: Yes. In posterity, it will be impossible to relegate Christ, humanity’s greatest achievement, to a less prominent role in our lives.

The Fellowship of Friends is a mysterious play whose author is an unknown angel. We understand the script as each day is completed. We are being bred to survive a nuclear holocaust. History affords us no examples of major powers disarming themselves, and so it would be naïve to expect disarmament in our age. We have little time left. An ark is designed to withstand the destruction of humanity and to become life again.

One tries to anticipate influence C’s wishes. In a centre a co-director may try to provide in advance what may be needed for a meeting. So it is within our school: one tries to anticipate the needs of the school. Rodney Collin said that higher forces will stage a demonstration of their power. That is our school, which will survive Armageddon. We are not the first ark formed to protect humanity. But we are the first that had a Beethoven, a Bach, a Michelangelo and a Leonardo to protect. Noah’s ark was more for biological survival.

Students must learn that the school is their school. It is their duty to protect humanity and to build a school and an ark. Someday no one will leave Renaissance as there will be no place to go.

Our school is what it is and it is designed by influence C to form an ark and protect religion and the arts.

It appears as if the essence of the school will be philosophy, that is, literature. Mr. Nicoll said that new scriptures were being written, which is a possibility. It will not be as important as our role of preserving culture. It is probably more profitable to pursue something that affects the essence of the ark. Possibly we would add books to the Old and New Testaments.

We are forming an ark and will rescue art, but before that occurs, we have to develop a citizenry that appreciates art.

The Fellowship is going to surpass all of our expectations. It is interesting that we will keep building even after my task is complete. There will be a long series of conscious beings that follow me: Miles, Girard, and four not yet here. Late within my life I will work with students of twenty who will live to celebrate the one-hundredth and perhaps the one-hundred-tenth anniversary of Renaissance. The United States only recently was two hundred years old, so it is no small achievement that a student of mine will have seen me and the one-hundredth anniversary of Renaissance.

We are located near the town of Rough and Ready. It will be rough, and we will be ready. It shows how incredibly practical influence C is.

We are the phoenix rising from the ashes of humanity.

Our school is the fulfillment of the scriptures and is designed to survive Armageddon.

The Fellowship has a tremendous rendezvous with fate; we are on a collision course.

We are preparing for a non-electrical age. We could perpetuate electricity, but it is not the wish of higher forces to retain that advancement.

A nuclear holocaust will be coming, and a difficult trial will be asked of all of us, yet it is a trial that we will submit to with understanding. In the Bible, Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son and then higher forces spared him; we will be asked to release our life families, for they will not be spared. The main reason is that they are not prepared people, and this would defeat the purpose of the ark.

Non-violence is a characteristic we are trying to breed into our new people.

As Armageddon occurs, events will gradually reveal the scale of our task and my station. The first participants of Christ’s school were given to lions. Our school is the only school to appear on that ladder. One can see the parallel of suffering between our school and Christ’s. Everything will be understood eventually, and not on faith but through verification. When Mr. Ouspensky first met Mr Gurdjieff, he said he wanted some facts, and Mr Gurdjieff said, ‘There will be facts.’

Our ark will be composed of ten thousand people in the year 2006, and then the doors will close.

We are a new people being born: a holy family.

The Fellowship is on a collision course with tragic events, and yet we shall prevail.

Our task is so huge that sometimes one can hardly believe it. Difficult events are coming, and we will be ready.

I expect not to be martyred, but to die a passive death. I will have eight years after the destruction of humanity to assist in rebuilding a civilization. I am immortal, and death does not exist for me.

When my task is complete I will continue to work with our school, and communicate to my students the wishes of higher forces for our new civilization.
Influence C is preparing an ark for Renaissance; if they do not educate us, we cannot conserve for posterity.

We must move rapidly to make Renaissance as European as we can in the time that we have.

Humanity’s end is near. There could be no greater tragedy to bear from life’s viewpoint since it will be expunged. Only we few shall be left. We have self-remembering, and our hearts can bear the great emotional upheavals.

We are people destined to survive the last Judgment, and so we cannot be naïve.

The ark could not be cast into greater denying force than the Last Judgment.

Influence C has established a network of centres around the world for the people of the world to board the ark.

(In reference to the Spring of Moses on Mount Renaissance:)

The spring is bountifully flowing. After 2006, the spring will be necessary, as it is a natural source of water. Moses struck the rock and it gave forth water. Esoterically, that means that he struck the inaccessible emotional centre (the rock) and it gave forth water, the symbol for truth.

Noah was laughed at when he built his ark. No one is laughing these days because man people believe that hydrogen warfare is probable.

We have a great responsibility to posterity. To posterity, we are everything; to present humanity, we are nothing.

Influence C wants something for us, a soul, and they want something from us, an ark. We are being educated in the arts so that we may preserve the best of mankind for mankind. With self-remembering, one can pursue one’s self and one’s art, and do both better.

California is a magical place, especially since influence C is making its stand here. The state which has always represented home will fulfill its promise. There are more Angels hovering around Renaissance than any place on earth.

Student: As a man number six, do you find that you are teaching less?

Teacher: No. I am far from having reached my prime. In addition to working for our School in the present, much of my work is to prepare for civilizations to come.

What is the point of having children if one is going to lose oneself in them? In right order, however, they bring another dimension to one’s life. How wonderful it will be to be able to give the ark to our successors.

Most of the Angels who are assisting us played the role of an artist. Thus, the artistic essence of our outside help has dictated the form of the ark. Virtually all that remains of past civilizations are the conscious beings who evolved within their environment and the timeless works of art that they themselves left or that were produced somehow as a result of their influence. We will try to preserve what is best from all ages. We must learn to measure the scale of the visual arts and literature by the standard achieved by the ancient Greeks.

Some paintings do not deserve a place on the wall. One goes from the Dutch section of the Metropolitan Museum in New York to the section for modern art and one sees how people have spent millions for a building so they can put insanity on the wall. Kenneth Clark asked, ‘What will men of the future think when they look at our art?’ What they will then understand is what men are like when they have lost their minds and are expunged by higher forces. Plato said the affairs of the citizens of Atlantis had reached a pitiable position before they were destroyed.

(In reference to a picture of a man in Poldi Pezzoli Museum, receiving divine inspiration:)

People flatter themselves in thinking they are inspired from above.
[ed. - Of course, Robert Burton is free of all such fantasies.]